It is certainly not news that Mississippi's Medicaid program is in trouble. Actually, officials predict a $360 million shortfall in state funding for this program alone. The cost of Medicaid has grown dramatically over the past 5 years, as jobs are lost and more families find themselves without basic medical coverage.
So what is the solution to the state's woes? Should we dip into the scared "tobacco trust fund"? The money would be at least be used for health care and it is a safe bet the many of the health problems treated with Medicaid dollars are directly or indirectly linked to tobacco use.
What happened to the gaming panacea that was promised? The only roads that have been improved seem to lead to casinos, and as for education, unless you live in Tunica County, you probably haven't seen any impact.
So, how will we deal with this growing Medicaid debt? The state of Mississippi has come up with a novel solution. It is essentially a Robin Hood approach which promotes taxing the successful health care providers and giving it to the unsuccessful providers... a simple redistribution of wealth proposal, with a hint of socialism.
Mississippi Hospital Association opposes "taxing the rich to pay for the poor" since all hospitals, both public and private would be impacted. However, our Governor, Mr. Barbour, has proposed an alternate plan which would simply tax the private hospitals (these are the one's who currently pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in local property taxes, sales tax, state and federal taxes, etc.) and give it to the publicly owned facilities (like DRMC, which pays NO property taxes, NO sales tax and NO state and federal tax).
Wow, Haley! What a great idea. Let's penalize those hospitals which are fiscally sound, run efficiently, and make a profit for their investors, and funnel their tax dollars into our failing county owned hospitals! That way we can level the quality of care for all Mississippi residents and make sure that "Medicaid" is the standard of care for everyone!
And we wonder why businesses and industry do not want to relocate to Mississippi? If socialized health care is what we aspire to, then let's just do it. At least everyone knows what they have (or don't have) and can then work together toward improving it.
Ray Humphrys, wading through red ink up to his knees, obviously supports the Governor's plan, under which he (DRMC) would profit. I shall not elaborate further on that unholy alliance.
Suffice to say, that Haley Barbour's political grandstanding to get re-elected falls short of representing Mississippi's best interests for health care.